Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that her government will seriously reflect on views expressed at the District Council election on Sunday and improve governance.

The turnout rate set a record high at 71.2%, with 2.94 million people casting their ballot. The democrats swept the board, winning close to 400 seats out of 452, wiping out the pro-Beijing camp.

The election came after five months of major protests, initially against the now-withdrawn extradition bill. The sometimes-violent demonstrations have morphed into a wider movement seeking democracy and accountability over the police use of force.

Carrie Lam. Photo: inmediahk.net.

Asked if she was responsible for the pro-Beijing camp’s defeat on Tuesday, Lam said it was not for the government to interpret the result, but she understood that the election had a more political dimension to it, as large numbers of voters expressed a view on many issues.

“I would readily accept that, including deficiencies in governance, including unhappiness with the time taken to deal with the current unstable environment, and of course to end violence,” she said.

“I said that we would seriously reflect on these views expressed to us and improve governance in the future of our work,” she added.

Lam also said she had not received any instructions from Beijing following the election.

She said she was pleased to hear from the pro-establishment camp that, despite the defeat, they will continue to serve the public.

Lam said she had agreed to the first protest demand to withdraw the extradition bill, but stopped short of agreeing to any further demands, including a halt to calling the protests “riots.” Demonstrators are also seeking an independent commission of inquiry into police behaviour as well as amnesty for arrested protesters and universal suffrage.

“I have made a detailed response over the other [demands],” she added.

Peace and calm

Lam also said that the government was setting up an independent review committee to look at cause of social unrest, modelled on Britain’s response to the 2011 Tottenham riots, but she did not give a timetable or further details.

She said the public are hoping for a return to peace and calm, as seen over recent days.


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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.